Several emails have come in over the last many days asking how we’re managing here with this winter’s extreme cold temperatures and excessive snow storms. Apparently the New England storms and subzero temperatures have become worldwide news. I very much appreciate all the concern and good wishes… although we’re used to harsh winters and impressive snow depths, and we’re well prepared to deal with both, I have to agree… this winter has been something else.
It almost feels like we’re living in a cave because of the way the snow banks are closing us in. The snow is so deep that it would extend up past the bottom half of the downstairs windows if we didn’t clear most of it away. But we’re running out of places to put the shoveled or plowed snow. Even the snow banks alongside the roads are as tall as a person now, and the paths near the houses are like tunnels. We’ve had huge snowstorm after huge snowstorm… eighteen to twenty-four inches seems to be the usual prediction these days when the weather people tell us a new storm is about to hit. And then there’s the snow that has to be shoveled off all the roofs… that has to go somewhere too.
I think the main reason this winter has felt so almost unbearably harsh is because we’re having all these heavy snowstorms AND unusually cold temperatures at the same time, with almost no respite from either. For weeks now the temperatures have stayed below freezing during the day and dropped considerably below zero at night. Wind chills have consistently been between twenty and fifty degrees below zero. The weather people keep advising everyone to stay inside because the wind chill is so dangerous, and warning that frostbite can happen in as little as five minutes. When the snow stopped from the most recent storm, the temperature was five below zero with a wind chill of twenty-five degrees below zero… not ideal conditions for shoveling and snow-blowing.
Our electricity has been off quite a bit, and we’ve had problems with our Internet and telephone service too, with both being on and off and then on again. We’ve had a few days of frozen pipes and cars that wouldn’t start… but we have a generator, and the wood stove for cooking and heat when the electricity is off for a while. We also have an alternate source of water that doesn’t have to be pumped with electricity. We have lots of wood and plenty of food, kerosene lamps and candles… and most of the time we have been warm and comfortable.
One thing is for sure, though. This year spring can’t come soon enough!